IRL: Texas II: Honda Friday report

Meira & Rice Lead Honda Qualifying in Texas Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Vitor Meira and Buddy Rice led the Honda-powered field in qualifying Friday for Sunday's season-ending Indy Racing League IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Meira & Rice Lead Honda Qualifying in Texas

Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Vitor Meira and Buddy Rice led the Honda-powered field in qualifying Friday for Sunday's season-ending Indy Racing League IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. A pole winner earlier this year at Milwaukee, Meira posted the fourth-fastest speed during his run, edging Rice by 14-thousandths of a second. Helio Castroneves scored a record-tying fourth consecutive pole for Team Penske, and remains the only non-Honda driver to qualify on the pole in 2004.

Bryan Herta led the four-car Andretti Green Racing effort in qualifying, as the teammates qualified seventh through 10th. Seeking to secure second place in the drivers' championship, Dan Wheldon was eighth, followed by Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan, who clinched the drivers' title with a second-place finish earlier this month at California Speedway.

Fernandez Racing owner/driver Adrian Fernandez rounded out the top 12, while teammate Kosuke Matsuura moved one step closer to clinching IRL "Rookie of the Year" honors with a 15th-place run. Fellow rookie Mark Taylor rounds out the nine-car Honda field and will start 17th for Access Motorsports.

Honda, which has already clinched the 2004 Manufacturers' Championship, will be seeking its 15th consecutive race victory in Sunday's final IndyCar race of the season.

Vitor Meira (#17 Centrix Financial Rahal Letterman Racing Honda): Qualified fourth: "To be starting next to your teammate is good for us. We are able to work to together and we trust each other like you saw at Kansas [when they finished side-by-side for a 1-2 result]. I'm just really thankful for the chance that Rahal Letterman Racing and Centrix gave me this year. It has been my best year in the IRL and I hope we can come back in 2005 and do even better. We have been good here in races before and I think we'll be good on Sunday. I have been looking for my first win in the IRL and to win here in the last race would be great. It would be fantastic to end the year with a win. You could celebrate all the way through the holidays, too."

-honda-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , Vitor Meira